Winter Minestrone

This is my favourite soup, which if you knew me is a fairly large statement as I’m a soup fiend. I adapt Minestrone for all seasons, so it can be on a constant rotate. In spring and summer, I make it lighter with a choice of seasonal vegetables, I leave out the tomatoes and choose fresh fragrant pesto as the dominant flavour. In autumn when comfort and depth is needed, I favour robust kale, sometimes cavolo nero. And in winter sometimes I look for extra substance by adding a good mixture of beans, such as cannellini or flageolet, or if in a meaty mood a little good rustic Italian sausage.

As well as being beyond delicious, Minestrone is literally the soup that keeps giving. The pasta naturally thickens the soup overnight, and to remedy this, I add another tin of tomatoes and some more stock when rewarming. By doing this I’m rewarded by another fine batch, it’s regeneration properties always reminds of the magic porridge pot book from my childhood, which incidentally I was equally enthralled and terrified by.

I recommend you freeze a couple of portions, for enjoying on cold lazy days when cooking is simply beyond you.

Winter Minestrone

Recipe by Gemma SimmoniteCourse: MainDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • 25g butter

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • 2 tsp of sugar

  • 1 large onion, finely diced

  • 3-4 carrots, finely diced

  • 4 sticks of celery, finely diced

  • 1 courgette, finely diced

  • 2 tbsp tomato puree

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 glass of red wine

  • 3 tins of chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tin of flageolet beans, drained

  • 1.5 – 2 litres of vegetable stock, as instructed on tin.

  • 125g spaghetti

  • 2 handfuls of roughly chopped savoy cabbage

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano to serve, or Pecorino if vegetarian.


  • Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan, then add the minced garlic.
  • Add all the diced vegetables and sweat down until they soften.
  • Add the tomato puree and give a good stir, then add the wine, sugar and bay leaf
  • Cook until the mixture is beginning to get ‘jammy’ and needs liquid, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, beans, made up stock and season, cook for a further 12 minutes, then add the spaghetti, cook for a further 6 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage, check seasoning again and cook for a further 15 mins
  • Serve with grated parmesan if desired


  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano to serve, or Pecorino if vegetarian.

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